The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.              Psalm 34:18


Reading the statistics surrounding the violence against women and girls can be overwhelming. I am always astonished to hear the stories of the abuse that terrorizes these women and girls. With all the resources and help available from private and public organizations, not to mention from churches and mission organizations, why are so many of our sisters still suffering physical and emotional violence at the hands of abusers?

According to the United Nations, globally there are 243 million women and girls aged 15 to 49 who have been subjected to sexual and/or physical violence by an intimate partner in the past 12 months. This statistic isn’t from years ago and doesn’t combine multiple years; it’s been happening around the world in just the past 12 months!

The lockdown in half the world leaves little room for women to find hope when they are trapped in a home with an abuser. It’s painful to live in that environment, and it’s painful to hear the stories of women just surviving every day to find a little glimmer of hope.

I’m always intrigued with the behavior that influences fights and quarrels, as I have experienced many situations of violence in my own life. It’s why the question is asked and answered in the book of James: “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight” (James 4:1-2).

Isn’t there some truth to what James is saying? We want something and can’t have it, so we fight. We have desires that battle within us, and when we can’t satisfy a desire or get what we want, or we can’t get people to do what we say, we fight. Yet we as Christians are to satisfy our desires by asking God with right motives and humility and then leaving the outcome in his hand (James 4:3).  Taking a stand for justice, however, is an issue for another discussion, and we can take such a stand with love and respect, knowing that God is also a God of justice (Isa. 30:18).

I find that I have peace in the difficult and dark moments of my life when I repent of my pride and live in humble surrender to God’s ways and his Word. It is not easy and takes a lot of time, discipline and humble sharing with trusted friends. When we do this, we can grow in the truth that God is near and believe that we are not alone!  


 

Dr. Peggy Banks
Global Ministry Director